Helicopter parents will tell you that unless a child is already practicing the piano by the age of four, they can forget about a career as a professional musician. Julia Hülsmann is proof to the contrary: the native of Bonn didn’t begin piano lessons until she was eleven, yet today she is the leading German artist on the renowned jazz label ECM. In the early days of her career she recorded CDs with singers such as Roger Cicero and Rebekka Bakken; a tribute to Randy Newman followed, along with works inspired by American poets such as Emily Dickinson.
But it is not only her diverse interests that have brought Hülsmann the honour of being ELBJAZZ’s 2019 Artist in Residence. The pianist is a professor at Berlin’s University of the Arts, and as the chairperson of the Union of German Jazz Musicians she has campaigned for better working conditions in her industry. About herself, the artist says she is no friend of unnecessary notes. Be it in an octet, quintet, trio or duo: Julia Hülsmann always inspires with “lyrical improvised music that is beyond any display of braggadocio” (Die ZEIT).
Being the Artist in Residence at ELBJAZZ is unbelievably exciting: with three concerts in two days, you have the rare opportunity to present several projects that mean a lot to you at the same time, and to do that on such different and truly special stages …
The fact that you have to quickly switch from one project to the next and from one stage to another in such a short period of time represents a challenge while also giving a nice buzz! And since I’ve always been drawn to the water, I can’t wait to “drop anchor” at ELBJAZZ, with its maritime theme.
(Julia Hülsmann, Artist in Residence 2019)
Photo: Volker Beushausen